Sunday, June 12, 2022

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Bunny And A Lesson For Kiana

   On Friday evening we went to Green Dragon to buy a bunny for Kiana's birthday. Lia received a bunny for from a friend for her birthday and Kiana wanted one as well. Dean thought Kiana is old enough to be responsible for feeding and watering a pet, so we launched the "Bunny Project." 

Trying to choose a bunny. Dean bought three and Kiana had a difficult time choosing the one she wants.

Kiana was feeling rather grumpy yesterday morning. As I was combing her she said, "I can't wait to get my bunny and hold it close." I asked her how it made her feel when she held her bunny and she said she feels all warm inside. 
"How would you feel if your bunny bit or scratched you when you were cuddling it?" I asked. 
"That would hurt my feelings," Kiana mumbled.
"Did you know that when you are grumpy with me it hurts me? It hurts my heart, just like it hurts you when your bunny scratches you." 
Kiana wasn't very happy with that analogy but it did get her to thinking....for awhile.

Animals are often used to help children work through big feelings. Last night I was trying to help Kiana work through some things that were bothering her but she wasn't in the mood to listen. Dean suggested bringing her bunny in and letting her hold it while we talked and it worked! As she sat stroking her bunny, she calmed down and we could talk reasonably. Dean reminded her that no matter how much she messed up, she can always say she is sorry and start over. Poor girl, there was a battle going on inside, part of her wanted to remain angry at me and block me out while another part of her wanted to give in and let me comfort her. 
The battle raged for a few moments then her shoulders drooped and she whispered, "Will you help me?"
"Of course," I said. Kiana's words were music to me ears, she was asking for help!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Happy Birthday Kiana

Happy 9th Birthday Kiana!!!!

    Yesterday was Kiana's 9th birthday. She said, "I waited sooooo long for this day to come and it is finally here!" Last night as I was giving her a good night hug she said, "My birthday is over already!"


As much as the children anticipate their birthday, the day brings a lot of sadness with it. Naturally they think of their birth parents and wonder if their parents are thinking of them on their birthday. Kiana was hoping against hope that her birth mom would call. Her spirits drooped more and more as the hours passed without a phone call.

As an adoptive parent it is tough to stand by and see your child grieving and feeling unloved because the person who is called to love and nurture them is missing. Dean and I poured love into Kiana yesterday but it wasn't enough, there is only one person who could fill the void. 

Just before Kiana was ready for bed, I received a text from her birth mom. I asked if she would like to talk to Kiana and she jumped at the opportunity. When Kiana realized who I was talking to, her face lit up. Kiana and her birth mom had a good chat and Kiana went to bed with the ache in her heart gone. Of course that wasn't the end of the story as those of you who have children with trauma will understand.

Kiana's smile when she realized her birth mom was on the phone.

Kiana listening to her birth mom sing Happy Birthday to her. 

Being an adoptive parent has placed me in many situations. There was a time when I wouldn't have been able to imagine the joy watching my daughter talking to her birth mom would bring to my heart.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Year Of Healing And Pain

A year ago B's ICPC paperwork was approved which meant he could move to his new family. I still remember how I felt when Dean told me, like I was suffocating, drowning, dying... something of the sort. We were expecting to have the paperwork approved at any time but when it actually happened, I discovered I wasn't as prepared as I thought I was.

 There are days I am amazed at how badly it still hurts when I think over the past 8 years, other times I am just as amazed at how much healing has taken place. 

   The memories feel like a bad dream until I feel the physical pain that goes with emotional trauma. Then I know it wasn't a dream at all, it really did happen.

  We are reliving the pain through memories but we don't have the adrenaline rush to cushion the hurt like we did when these things were happening. I think that is at least partly responsible for the exhausted and overwhelmed feeling I get just from living life. 

  So are we in a better place than we were a year ago? Absolutely! Do we have a long way to go? Absolutely!

  Thanks to everyone who remembered us this month. The prayers, gifts and flowers mean more than we can say

These beautiful flowers come from a friend from CA. This friend has her plate more than full, but she took time out of her day to bless us. Lia was disappointed to hear the flowers did not get an airplane ride even though the giver lives in CA.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Help For Families In Crisis - Life With RAD

  What are parents to do when they have children with RAD and they are nearing the breaking point? The other week I wrote a post entitled: Get Help Before You Break - Life With RAD. What I failed to add is where to get the help you need. I had a reader send this question: "What do you do when there is no help and you are at the breaking point?" She wasn't expecting me to reply because she knows as well as I, that there is no one size fits all answer to this problem. I have been tossing this around in my head, trying to come up with a solution because many of the mom's who contact me are in the same situation. Their child is making life unbearable, their health is failing and they are losing their remaining children's hearts. They need help and they need it now. They have gone to therapy, they are trained trauma parents, they have been to psychiatrists they have tried everything and the situation only grows worse. 

   When a mom comes to me and is in that place, it scares me because I know exactly what the family is up against. There is a lot more at stake here than losing their child, their faith is shaken, their trust in fellow humanity is gone, they are nearing the point of being suicidal because they cannot go on and there is no one to help them. When families reach this place they are in crisis and need more than one person can give, they need a whole community to rally around them. They need someone to intervene and take all their responsibilities so they can focus on healing. But that is a huge task and these families already feel as though they are a drain on their church and community. It is hard to continually be the needy family and not be able to give in return.

   As I was pondering this situation I wondered what could be done so families who have children with attachment disorders do not find themselves at this breaking point? I came to the conclusion that they need another couple to help them parent. 

   When B was home we never left him with a babysitter, the price was simply to high. When your child hates you, you are loath to give them more ammunition to use against you. I won't go in to explaining why this is, you can read here about the triangulationmanipulation and control that makes placing a child with RAD at a sitter impossible. That means mom and dad never get time together away from the children. If an older couple would be willing to learn how to care for the child and could give the parents a break that would be so helpful. We once left B with a trained RAD respite provider our therapist told us about. Even though this person was trained, she did not know B's particular methods of control and manipulation, so despite her best efforts he came away feeling triumphant because he succeeded in manipulating her. While he thrived on manipulation it scared him when he was successful because that meant he was smarter than the adults who were supposed to be keeping him safe.

   Having someone being the mediator for the family would be so helpful. These children are masters at pushing their parents beyond what they can handle. Having to explain why they parent as they do and continually having to be on guard wears these parents down. If there was someone to whom they could direct those with questions and concerns it would be such a blessing.

   Perhaps having someone who could give the parents a scheduled break as well as provide a safe buffer between them and the rest of the world would keep families from reaching the crisis point. 

  I don't know if there are any couples out there who would be willing to undertake such an enormous task but I honestly think having someone who has their back would ease the isolation and pain parents feel when caring for a child who is so emotionally damaged that he cannot accept love. Such a couple might provide enough of support that the parents could give their child what he needs without sacrificing their health, family and marriage. 

  Having someone to speak truth into their lives may be what keeps a couple from seriously questioning or even abandoning their faith. When you have a child who is trying their best to hurt you, make you crack, perhaps is even seeking to do away with you, it is really hard to remember that this child is doing this out of fear and pain. If someone who really knows what life is like from day to day would daily pour Gods word into your heart, it would be such a blessing.

  If anyone has tried this I would love to hear about it. How did you make it work? What were some of the pitfalls?


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Our Weekend

Yesterday was a cookies and candle kind of day. I felt chilly and when I checked the thermostat I understood why, it was 64 degrees in the house.

Lia gets dreadfully bored at home when the others are in school. I dug out this paint set she received for a gift awhile ago. 

Some delicious burgers Dean grilled on Sunday.

On Saturday we went to the Fire Safety Event at PaulB. The children received plastic fire hats. Joseph loves his but he has a hard time reading with it on because he needs to hold his head still so the hat doesn't fall off. He would love to wear it when he is doing his chores but keeping the hat on his head and working doesn't go so well.

Dean made snack sticks with some of the meat from the deer Tristan shot the other week.

Picking up pumpkins to feed the pigs

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Cherish Today

    A long time ago when my children were babies (I know it wasn't that long ago but it seems that way sometimes) I used to yearn for a full nights rest. When Kiana and Joseph were babies Dean and I used to each take a baby for the night. It was funny, I never heard Deans baby cry and he never heard mine but we each heard the one we were responsible for. I usually took the one who awakened most often because Dean had to go to work the next day, which meant Miss Kiana was mine. There were days when I thought this phase of life would never end. When I was up at night giving one child a bottle, another a drink and comforting yet another, an uninterrupted night sounded like one of the best things in the world.

   Now I seldom get awakened at night and if I do, a drink or hug along with words of comfort are usually all that is needed. And you know what? I miss those times. Of course I don't miss the fog brain and bleary eyes I endured the next day, but those nights of holding my little one's and being able to meet all their needs are now something I yearn for. Back then their troubles were small. A bottle, snuggles with mom or dad and warm clothing was all they asked for.

   I guess I am feeling nostalgic because last night was pretty rough around here. Seldom does the whole family feel burdened at the same time but we sure did last night. My dear husband did two major counseling sessions with two children over two different issues while I dealt with the other two little people. I was feeling rather overwhelmed when Dean reminded me that this time of year is always challenging mainly because of one thing, school. Lest you think it is the school or teachers, I want to clarify that it isn't, it is trauma.

   Tristan was feeling like, "What is the use of trying when things don't go right even though you do your best?" And I will admit I was feeling the same way. We try everything we know to do with Kiana and Joseph and it doesn't seem to make a bit of difference. My discouraged self was thinking, why do we even try so hard.

  Before we went to bed Dean and I discussed the evening. We have to be on the same page, or the children will manipulate and triangulate causing more damage. 

  "I told Tristan about something I recently failed at," Dean said, "I told him I would have felt much worse if I would have done a sloppy job. I knew I gave it my best shot and while I wish things would have turned out differently, I know I did my best."

  I needed to hear that. Parenting children with complex trauma and brain injuries can feel useless. You go over and over the same issues. You cry and pray, pleading with God for wisdom and patience only to find your child has slid back to square one for the umpteenth time. It is enough to make you want to throw up your hands in defeat. 

  "Do your best and if you fail, you know you gave it your best shot." I needed that because ultimately we won't be judged on whether we "succeeded" or "failed" at this whole parenting thing. We will be judged on whether we gave it our best. 

   As I was longing for the days when my children were babies and we were able to meet their needs, when we were all they wanted and needed, I had to think, "In ten years will I be looking back to these years and wishing we could go back?" 

  So for today I will cherish these years when things seem overwhelming and give it my best!

I Choose Joy!Friendship Friday